The NSPCC have recorded over 1944 incidences of attempted sexual grooming of a child under 16 since September 2018.
It has been discovered that 32% of cases took place on Instagram, 23% of cases took place on Facebook and 14% of cases took place on Snapchat.
Shockingly sexual communication with someone under the age of 16 only became illegal in 2017 demonstrating how badly the government is struggling to regulate crime online. Since the law passed over 5000 incidences of online grooming have been noted by the police. Campaigners have been demanding that the government creates more laws to protect children online.
The biggest concern for campaigners is that often communication doesn’t stop online, and children can be manipulated into meeting their abuser in real life. In these situations the children are at huge risk of being sexually abused or assaulted by their attackers.
More horrifying evidence has revealed that 7 out of 10 victims are ages 12-15, whilst 1 in 5 victims are under the age of 11. The youngest child that has been a victim of this form of abuse is 5. Crimes of a sexual nature are massively under-reported and many fear that these figures do not reveal the true extent of the problem.
Many big social media companies such as Facebook and Snapchat have pledged to do more to ensure child safety and tackle this grooming problem. On way Snapchat has tried to make its users safer, is making its default setting private so that abusers can’t find children online as easily.
The Home office has pledged to invest £250 000 to help tackle abuse, however despite this effort, it’s struggling to keep up with this problem as it is so new and largely unknown. Nonetheless the government is making this a priority.